Last updated: 2/1/2012
Kalamazoo, Michigan
314 S. Park St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
phone: 269-349-7775
Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday12 PM - 5 PM
Closed Monday and major holidays
Admission is free. There is a suggested donation of $5 to help support future exhibitions and programming.
Free. Donations Accepted.
Museum Type(s)
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
James Bridenstine, Executive Director
phone: 269-349-7775
Farrell Howe, Marketing & PR Coordinator
phone: 269-349-7775 x3112

Art Museum focusing on early American art. Traveling exhibitions complement a permanent collection of more than 4,000 works. A fully equipped art school offering hundreds of classes to more than 3,000 students annually. Programs and events designed to make art accessible to all ages and art tastes. A beautiful gallery shop offers unique, artist-made gifts at all prices.


To promote the creation and appreciation of the visual arts.


In 1924, the Kalamazoo Chapter of the American Federation of the Arts incorporated as the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts to present classes and establish legal responsibility for the ownership of art objects and the solicitation of funds. The mission of these active artists and art patrons was to encourage the creation and appreciation of art. Small budgets and membership numbers characterized the early years. Staffed primarily with volunteers, the KIA developed distinguished exhibitions and art classes while located in a house loaned by the Kalamazoo Board of Education.

In 1931, the KIA hired its first full-time director and began offering art classes to both children and adults. In 1947 the KIA gained a permanent home when it purchased and a renovated a Victorian mansion at 421 West South Street. In the 1930s and 40s, distinguished guest lecturers such as Diego Rivera, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier challenged and informed local audiences about the contemporary art world. An eclectic schedule of exhibitions included work by Picasso and Klee, Japanese prints and ceramics, African Art, Dutch old masters, and even an international kite collection that became a traveling exhibition. Annual juried competitions and exhibitions by local artists and students helped promote and encourage both new and established artists.

In 1951, the KIA launched the Kalamazoo Art Fair to provide an opportunity for local artists to exhibit and sell their work. Held annually on the first weekend in June, Art Fair has grown into a juried fair that attracts artists from across the United States and Canada and a crowd of over 40,000.

In 1961, the KIA built a new facility, the Gilmore Art Center at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts at its current location. The Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill design was based on architect Mies vander Rohe's plan for a museum in a small city, and illustrated the International style: glass walls, slab construction, exposed columns. With new exhibition areas and storage space, the KIA was able to actively build its collection for the first time. The building included exhibitions galleries, an art library, auditorium, sculpture garden, studio classrooms, and office space as well. In 1988, the KIA developed a new logo, and became known simply as the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

In 1994, the KIA began a $14.5 million capital and endowment campaign which resulted in building expansion and renovation designed by the Boston architectural firm of Ann Beha Associates. The addition increased the facility size by nearly 40% to 72,000 square feet. Highlights include a two-story lobby gallery, new auditorium, classrooms, and galleries, gallery shop, art library and an interactive gallery for children of all ages. In 2006, the Art School was named the Kirk Newman Art School to recognize the artist and former Art School director who contributed so much to its development.

Today over 100,000 visitors each year

Today over 100,000 visitors each year enjoy exciting temporary exhibitions, an outstanding permanent collection of nearly 4,000 works, programs, and events at the KIA. Nearly 3,000 students enroll annually in Kirk Newman Art School classes. The original mission of the KIA to encourage the creation and appreciation of the visual arts continues to guide the institution.

Artifact Collections

Exhibitions drawn from the museum's collection are always on view in our lower level galleries.

The collection, originally developed to complement the KIA's art school, focuses on:
* American painting, sculpture and ceramics
* American and European works on paper, 16th century and later
* Photography

American art, from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraiture and landscape painting to modern and contemporary abstraction and figurative works, is the strength of the KIA's permanent collection.

Significant works by Alexander Calder, William Merritt Chase, Dale Chihuly, Richard Diebenkorn, Janet Fish, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Andy Warhol are part of the collection.

In recent years, the collection has been expanded to include:

  • Oceanic objects
  • Pre-Columbian gold and ceramics
  • African art
  • East Asian art
  • Educational Programs

    The Kirk Newman Art School is a community-based, non-degree art school offering:
    * 300+ classes for over 3,000 students each year.
    * Classes for ages 4 years through adults.
    * 12 week fall and winter terms with weekly classes.
    * Shorter courses in specialized subjects each term.
    * 6 week spring term and 8 week summer term.
    * Children's and Teen Art Camps with special theme each week.
    * Scholarships for adults, teens, and children.

    Classes are offered in photography, computer graphics, design, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, papermaking, painting and drawing, printmaking, fiber, glass fusing, art appreciation and children's art.

    School facilities surpass most college and university art departments.
    * Ceramics: Electric, gas, salt, and raku kilns plus two off-site, wood burning, anagama kilns
    * Sculpture: Clay, metal welding, wood and bronze casting foundry
    * Jewelry: Fabrication equipment, vacuum and centrifugal casting, sand blaster, rolling mills and kilns
    * Printmaking: Intaglio, photo etching, woodblock, lithography and serigraphy
    * Fiber: 20 floor looms, spinning wheels
    * Photography: large black and white darkroom
    * Computer lab: 20 state-of-the art Macintosh computers
    * Glass fusing: facilities for kiln-formed and kiln-fused glass
    For more information, class schedule and pricing, visit


    The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts offers a variety of programs and lectures for adults, teens and children. Special tours are available for the visually impaired as well as those who suffer from memory loss.

    There are free public tours on Sundays at 2 p.m. that focus on art in our traveling exhibitions as well as the permanent collection. We do have a docent program to help us guide these tours and other tour opportunities at special events.

    Most programming and events are free, or have a nominal fee. For more information, visit



    Lecture Halls

    Performance Areas


    Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

    Appointment required: No


    The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts prints a quarterly magazine called Sightlines that has information about exhibitions, programming, events and the class schedule covering a three month timeframe. This colorful magazine is mailed to our members and students, and is available for free to the public at the front desk and in distribution racks. If you would like a copy, inquire at the front desk or call (269) 349-7775.

    Online newsletters are also available. Receive exclusive information about upcoming exhibitions, events, programs, and new classes, as well as new offerings from our library or sales at our Gallery Shop.

    Educators might want to sign up to receive ARTsmart, an e-newsletter from our programs department that covers tour and program information that would enhance students' art experience at their schools.

    Sign up for an e-newsletter at and visit the contact us page on our website.

  • 1=Sightlines
  • ADA

    Wheelchair Accessible


    Gift Shop

    Online Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental

    Group Tours

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    2023 Tennessee Association of Museums Conference: Unfinished Revolutions
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